Significant disruption possible at the region’s ambulance service during industrial action (1 May)

28 April 2023

Significant disruption is possible at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust during forthcoming industrial action (Monday 1 May), which coincides with a bank holiday and planned industrial action by nurses at many hospitals. The public are, once again, being asked to only dial 999 for an ambulance where a patient is in a life-threatening or very serious condition.

Strike action by members of Unite the Union is planned on Monday 1 May across all services, and A&E Operations (frontline emergency ambulances and 999 call handling) and NHS 111 are expected to experience the greatest impact. 

This industrial action is part of a national pay dispute with the government. 

Whilst we recognise and respect individuals’ legal right to participate in industrial action, our priority remains ensuring that patient and staff safety, welfare, dignity and respect are maintained. Yorkshire Ambulance Service has put a number of contingency plans in place to allow it to respond to life-threatening and very serious cases during the strike, but has concerns over staffing at emergency departments at those hospitals expected to be affected by the Royal College of Nursing strike action – Barnsley, Bradford, Harrogate, Leeds, Sheffield, York and Scarborough.

Nick Smith, Executive Director of Operations at Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said:
“It’s very important that people use our emergency service appropriately on Monday so that resources can be focused where they are needed, and particularly on very serious and life-threatening incidents.

“As the strike action also coincides with what is expected to be a busy bank holiday and industrial action being taken by many nurses across Yorkshire, we are expecting a challenging day on Monday.  Our resources will be stretched and services are likely to be disrupted, with a possibility of delays in emergency responses and telephone calls to 999 and NHS 111 being answered.

“We need the public to use our services wisely, but particularly our emergency ambulance service.  We will be here for those who really need us, but you should only call 999 when someone is in a life-threatening or very serious condition.

“Patients waiting for an ambulance should only call back if their symptoms worsen or to cancel an ambulance if alternative transport has been arranged, so that our lines are available to take new emergency calls.”

“We also ask that people seek help and advice from alternative healthcare providers, including NHS 111 Online (, or by visiting a pharmacist.”

Produced by: Corporate Communications Department